How to Use Topwater Baits for Bass

How to Use Topwater Baits for Bass

June 26, 2018 | Andy Buss

Not many anglers will argue that anything is more exciting in fishing than seeing a bass explode on a topwater plug. It is pure adrenaline. But this bait is more than an adrenaline rush – it is an effective strategy that makes a memorable day of fishing. That’s why today we’re talking about how to use topwater baits for bass.

How to Use Topwater Baits for Bass – Popper Plugs

There are a number of different types of topwater lures on the market today, but few catch fish as consistently as the popper plug. What separates this plug from others is the concave mouth that causes a “plopping” or “spitting” of the water as an angler twitches it on the surface. This creates an appearance of a baitfish struggling to survive = easy meal.

Like most hard baits, a slew of companies offer a variation of this bait, but the Rebel Pop-R, originally produced in 1976, is considered the original. Today, models offering rattling beads inside exist, along with countless color schemes, and sizes ranging from 3 to 6 inches. Different dimensions of the concave mouth exist, which create unique “plopping” for each bait.

top water baits for bass

3 Tips to Get the Most out of a Popper Bait

  1. Use a Rapala knot when using these types of topwater baits for bass. This knot will give the bait a better “walk the dog” action. Combining this action with the plop of the popper is like a combining the Zara Spook and popper. Working the popper with this knot across a flat can be deadly effective.
  2. Add a feather hook. Remember that fish seeing this lure are looking at it from beneath. The feather offers additional tantalizing action.
  3. Select light colored bellies. As previously mentioned, fish only see the underside of this plug. All species living under water have light colored bellies to maximize camouflage. As a predator looks up, the glare of the sun is prominent. Thus, animals underwater are naturally camouflaged accordingly – species have darker backs to blend in the bottom. A bait with a dark bottom looks unnatural. Admittedly, this may work on certain days, especially cloudy days, but day in and day out, a light belly outperforms when it comes to topwater baits for bass.

The popper is an obvious choice at dusk and dawn as bass chase bait during lowlight hour, but there are two other times to keep it handy.

Topwater Baits for Bass- Two Times When the Plopper Shines

During the spawn, a popper can catch fish all day if it is twitched around spawning areas. Northern anglers with smallmouth bass spawning in June know this tactic all too well. Bass are very protective of their nests to the aquatic creatures trying to snatch their eggs, but that aggression is not limited to subsurface nuisances. They will attack creatures above them as well. Many times the fish will only smack at it as a warning. When water is stained and finding bedding fish cannot be done visually, bass anglers can use the popper to lure bass into giving up their location. As a bass slaps at a popper, it gives away its lair to the angler. Once located, an angler can attack the fish with their favorite bedding bait.

Calm, hot days of summer can give bass lockjaw; however, slick, calm water is prime popper time. Aggressive baits that send off a strong vibration seem to be overkill in these conditions. Soft, undulating baits are often passed over by bass, because due to the calm water, the fish have the ability to examine the bait closely before committing, and the fakeness of the lure is recognized. The plopper is the perfect bait, as the sun conceals its real identity, yet appears to be an easy meal triggering a reaction bite.

Top water baits for bass

How to Retreive Topwater Baits for Bass

Retrieves with the popper can vary greatly. With the Rapala knot, an angler can retrieve it all the way back to the boat without pausing. Sometimes it is best to twitch it 2-3 times and then pause for a couple of seconds. Whenever the bait gets around a piece of structure, it is always a good idea to pause it. If fish are aggressive, then a constant retrieve is best. However, if less aggressive, constant pausing normally best.

There are five baits guaranteed to bring you success this summer: soft stickbait, jig, jerkbait, crankbait, and plopper. Read our tips about how to use them all first, then work them all thoroughly. But, most importantly, have your net handy – you’re going to need it.

Soft Stickbaits for Early Summer Bass Fishing

Jig Fishing Tips for Early Summer and Beyond

Crankbait Tips from Pro Angler Greg Mangus

Jerbait Fishing Tips for Early Summer

Check out more from Andy Buss on his YouTube Channel.